Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Top 5 Reasons Why I Hate the Olympics

Reasons Why I Dislike the Olympic "Movement"

1. Nationalism
If 21st century Earth is a giant prison camp, nations are the gangs and their flags are the gang emblems. Watching people wave their banners is pretty depressing, just like watching what was that horrible movie Triumph of the Will? Why not allow athletes to compete as individuals? Alternatively, they could form teams based on blood type, favorite music, favorite color, or some other randomly chosen characteristic. Rotate it so while teams compete on the basis of blood type this session, they will go by favorite color four years from now.

2. Competitivism
Technically, that isn't a word, but the religion of competiveness is an empty shell. Races are won on the basis of hundredths of a second. Instead of laughing and giving everyone a prize, they give out the gold as though the one hundredth of a second really meant something. That whisker of a win was decided by how well someone shaved, whether they packed the right razor, or whether their clothes contained streamlined microfibers or not. What this is telling us is that everyone is pretty much equal and that the whole basis of the medals and awards is bogus. Maybe we need some kind of cooperative games or it is just time to retire the whole concept.

3. Regionalism
By regionalism I mean the egotism of the capital region. Beijing is an idiotic place to hold the Olympic games. Basically it is the center of an industrial complex. Maybe they could have gone out of town to somewhere more rural and unpolluted (less polluted, let's say).

4. Spectaclism
Just watching sports drives me crazy. I immediately want to move and wonder why I am trying to hold still and watch a screen and the people on the screen get to move. This is a general criticism of spectator sports. Unless you are handicapped, you should get out and move yourself. For every two hours you are playing, watch a game on TV for an hour, maybe. I suppose you could learn to improve your game, whatever your game is. There used to be community leagues for all kinds of sports; many of these dried up with the rise of spectatorism.

In connection with this is the crappy and nationalistic coverage of the media, and the bizarre kinds of games that exist. Subjectively evaluated "sports" such as synchronized swimming, and even basketball (sorry) are not real games. These are subjectively evaluated, scored, and refereed. A true game should have simple and self-evident criteria for winning. This is true of foot races, shot put, javelin throws, etc. Anybody can see who arrived first, which went farther, etc. It should be possible to measure the results with a machine such as a scale, sensor, or tape measure. The medieval Olympic games degenerated into circuses, too, and we are following that natural path of development or devolution. These circuses also distract people from useful social work which could be done on a global scale.

5. Class and Oppression
The Olympic games are usually a good excuse to tear down old buildings, throw poor people out of their apartments to renovate them to rent to visitors, beef up the police force, spy on citizens, fly lots of helicopters over the city, etc.

I could come up with a few more things I dislike about them, the environmental waste, the runaway corporatism, and so on, but this will do for now. It may seem like a good idea in principle to get the world's athletes together every once in a while for a massive series of games, but it has got to be overkill from the point of view of many. So many games are going on and most of them will not be watched or televised. It would be better to have a series of small competitions the way the world cup in soccer and other sports is done. I could probably be persuaded of some good effects of the games, but overall I find more to disgust me than inspire me.

Watching the Olympics makes me feel I am watching a row of dogs chained to their kennels, straining furiously at their chains, perhaps to see which one can get the closest to a passing cat. All the chains are the same length, but the cat may venture a little closer to one and one dog may feel that he really scared it and got the respect of the other dogs. The dogs are just hurting themselves the harder they strain to get the cat. Similarly, athletes are driven to do unhealthy things due to the money and politics of the games. The spectator fetish led to the corporate interest and money in the game, which led to athletes doping themselves, ruining their health and setting bad examples with their prostituted short athletic suicide lives, hopefully bringing down the whole decayed system to be replaced with the old family/neighborhood/community good-natured sports model, except now it is played with a Wii.

I do like China, though. And Taiwan. And the Dalai Lama. Long live Tibet! Can't we all just get along? I'm glad that China got a chance to hold the games, if it is important to them (and it is).

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